Fertilizers in sub-Saharan Africa: Logistics — helping the region to achieve its fertilizer consumption potential

Author Liliana Minton, Senior Analyst

Transport corridors in sub-Saharan Africa – a region with a population of around 1.1bn – are a key element in the transit of fertilizers to regional hubs, and ultimately consumers.

These routes are of particular importance to landlocked countries such as Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda and Mali, whose geographical restrictions mean they face higher transport time and costs for such commodities.

Transport corridors in sub-Saharan Africa are categorised according to its four regions — central, south, east and west. Linking roads, railways and ports, they were put together as part of agreements between countries in the region, and have become key to regional integration and economic development.

The importance of supply corridors has increased in recent years, thanks to more advanced ports and logistics development. The last mile of a fertilizer’s journey to the grower is often the most expensive, and often the biggest barrier to its use. Supply chains and transport corridors can help reduce costs and make fertilizers more affordable.

Case: Northern Corridor

This is one of the busiest corridors in east and central Africa, covering 2,000km and linking the landlocked countries of Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi with the Kenyan port of Mombasa. It also serves the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and northern Tanzania.

The countries in the northern corridor concluded a multilateral treaty to provide a framework for transport and trade co-operation, enhancing economic competitiveness in the region.

Summary of agriculture in the northern corridor

Country Total land area
(mn ha)
Arable land
(mn ha)
Cultivated land
(mn ha)
Irrigated land
(mn ha)
GDP Contri-bution Staple / food crop Cash crop
Kenya 58.2 5.7 4.7 103,200 26 Maize, beans, potatoes Tea, coffee, horti-culture
Uganda 23.6 7 5.2 14,000 37 Plantain, cassava, maize Tea, coffee, tobacco
Rwanda 2.6 1.2 0.9 4,000 33 Beans, cassava, plantain, sweet potatoes Tea, coffee
South Sudan 61.9 33 1.3 32,000 15 Sorghum, maize, cassava  

 

The port of Mombasa comprises Kilindini harbour and port Reitz on the eastern side of Mombasa island, and the Old port and port Tudor to the north. The port is undergoing a capacity expansion amid growing competition from the port of Dar es Salaam in neighbouring Tanzania.

New fertilizer production projects — such as Fertiplan’s 100,000 t/yr NPK steam granulation plan in Nakuru, Kenya — will serve east African markets, including Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia. The Fertiplan plant was scheduled to start up in 2020 but has faced delays because of Covid-19.

Such new projects will increase the amount of fertilizer traded within the northern corridor, resulting in increased crop yields and volumes.

Argus Consulting, in conjunction with the International Fertilizer Development Centre, has published the fifth annual edition of Argus Fertilizers in Sub-Saharan Africa: Resources, Markets and Logistics. The 2021 edition of this report includes analysis from our market experts on how logistics are helping the region to achieve its fertilizer consumption potential.

Read more here about this report here

Map of northern corridor

Map of northern corridorClick image to view full size

Overview map of logistical corridors in sub-Saharan Africa

Overview map of logistical corridors in sub-Saharan AfricaClick image to view full size

Argus sub-Saharan Africa fertilizer strategy report and complementary map
Prepared annually in conjunction with International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC), the Argus Fertilizers in sub-Saharan Africa 2021 strategy report is our fifth edition, providing valuable insight and essential data on key fertilizer markets and logistics in this exciting region.
Read more

Download Africa trade, production and logistics map